• Memphis city council delays Elvis Presley Enterprises development vote for fifth time


    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Memphis city council voted to table a new proposal from Elvis Presley Enterprises for two weeks.

    A heated debate at the meeting focused on a new proposed auxiliary building for Elvis Presley Enterprises. In the past, EPE proposed a total of 80 square feet of new sound stages which concerned council members.

    For the fifth time, the vote was delayed for tax incentives for the Graceland Tourism Zone master plan. 

    Several council members said they need more time to review the latest changes to the plan.

    They were worried about the original proposal violating the arena use operating agreement with FedExForum.

    In the new proposal, the 80 square feet of sound stages was removed. Still, council members are worried about a 13,500 square-foot building that was added to the proposal.

    They are worried that this new building could violate the agreement with FedExForum.  

    Back in March when the plans were announced, that included 1,000 new jobs. However, EPE cannot start recruiting for those jobs until they get approved by council.

    The expansion would create 1,000 new jobs paying $15.50 an hour with preference given to Whitehaven residents then Shelby County residents.

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    “Now there’s a 13,000 square foot mystery building that we don’t really know what it is. It’s a connector Mr. McLaren said it may be used for other things and we can get 600 people in there we learned today,” said council chairman Kemp Conrad.

    The new auxiliary building would be 13,500 square feet and hold 600 people. 

    “I don’t believe that a 600-seat room can violate the arena use operating agreement. Even both that building and the sound stage are both occupied at one time, we’re talking about less than 3,000 people,” said attorney James Mclaren, who is representing EPE.

    He said right now EPE has one sound stage. He said he is looking into the concerns from council members. 

    “The issue that concerns me on a concert or performance is that it would be used for some events and if they happen to have a small band playing during a reception, would that violate the agreement to have a concert or performance?” said Mclaren. 

    Conrad said he wants to know more information before the council makes a vote.

    “At some point it will start concerning them. I don’t think we know what that is but if we vote on this right now we are playing fire as it relates to that,” said Conrad.

    Initial plans from EPE show construction for the plant starting by the end of 2019 and all the jobs filled by 2023.

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